Individual reflection on group work experience Essay Example

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Individual Reflection on Group Experience

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Introduction

A group is a gathering of people who come together to perform a given function. The function is referred to as a group work. According to Hirokawa (2003) the groupwork entails social activities that are performed in coordination of the group members with the aim of leveraging on each others strengths. According to Brown (1994) group work is very crucial as it provides a platform in which individuals help each other. This implies that the group members work together, share thoughts and ideas with the core purpose of solving an issue or working towards a common goal. I was recently involved in a group activity where our group was tasked with researching on the differences between the western and eastern movies. This was an interesting group academic activity; this paper is a reflection on my experiences in the group.

Role of Communication in Groups

Communication is integral in the success of any group. It is common to have differing ideas and priorities in a group, if a concrete decision is not made to address the varying opinions group may never succeed. Constructive communication plays a key role in guiding group members and ensuring that quality decisions are arrived at (Gouran & Hirokawa, 2001). This is in line with the functional communication theory that denotes the importance of communication. The functional communication theory is anchored on prepositions and assumptions that try to explain the importance of communication in group decisions making. The theory points to the imperativeness of structured communication in aiding the success of a group (Salazar, 2012).

In our group assignment there were different genres of movies we had to research on in order to understand the differences that were inherent in the western and eastern movies. To achieve this, we had to have good communication and leadership directions. According to Tuckman and Jensen (1977) groups undergo different stages which define their success or failure; the first four phases include forming phase, storming, the norming and the phase of performing. For instance in the first phase the groups members need to go to know each and are not comfortable which each, this serves as a testing for the group and it is only through good leadership and willingness of the members to leverage on each other that a group can overcome the challenges in the stage. The second stage which is storming or conflict ridden phase arises due failure to show mutual respect mainly caused by differing opinions. It is after that the groups get to understand each other develop standards, values and establish roles that make them to undertake their functions (Tuckman &Jensen, 1977).

I believe our group was not an exception. For instance, the formation of the group was faced with challenges of caution in bringing the members to form the group, after the formation the members were not very much commitment in researching on the different movies. This made the group activities appear uncertain. It was clear that the group lacked good leadership that could motivate the members. According to Gouran and Hirokawa (2001) communication is important in leadership; it can play the role of promoting, disrupting or counteractive. My role in the team was to lead the team in its activities, I therefore played the role of the leader by ensuring that there was timely communication that motivated and united the group. I realised that every group member has a role to play. A leader is mandated to unite team members and guide them in achieving the set goal. In the group, there were times when the group discussions were stormy; as a leader I had to use communication skills to diffuse the looming conflicts and steer the team towards its intended purpose. It is through my role in the team that I realised the leadership art of building rapport.

Despite of the difficulties in communicating due to opposing opinions, I realised that these problems are normally magnified by failure to leverage on each others abilities. I realised that strong personality that encourages the group to assume tasks that best suit them and delegation of leadership in the different sub tasks was key to the successful completion of the task. Communication plays a big role in maintaining the team. Hirokawa (2003) noted that effective communication which involves discussing conflicts openly is crucial in achieving goals and maintaining a united group. For instance, to maintain the team spirit among the members, the group ensured that there was structured communication guided by the members. The maintenance of the group included in engaging in non-core activities, for instance we went playing games which reduced the tension in the first stages of the group work.

From the group activity I also realised that the style of leadership in a group should vary depending on the situation, it is upon the group members and the foresight guidance of the leader to maintain their roles by ensuring that respectful relationships are maintained in order to ensure functional requisites of the members.

Key to the success and continuity of the group is effective communication coupled with visionary leadership. Through the communication that promotes togetherness and cherishes the common goal, the team can proceed well and deliver its mandate as cohesiveness results to energy that is directed to accomplishing the task (Hirokawa, 2003).

Working in a group involves the process of ensuring that the group has members with common goal and target. It thus calls for compatible people to work together which means group members are supposed to be objective in decision making that relate to the group activities. However, this is normally not always the case, sometimes groups are formed on basis of mutual support only which does not rule away the subjectivity in decisions making. For instance the academic groups are formed on basis of leveraging each other academically, the composition of the groups sometimes is engineered by the instructors, and hence the group may have no friendship basis.

Conclusion

Groups are very important in learning, in the group task we were involved, at first it seemed an uphill; task to get the task done. Understanding each other which due to effective communication, we were able to work together and deliver. I believe this was achieved due to the role assumed by all the members and the inclusive leadership which ensured that all of us felt to be part of the group. The goal of the group was to deliver quality academic work for the task. This was achieved despite of the conflicts that were present at fist. It is through good leadership that the group members were able top maintain their calm work together and finally achieve the noble goal of the tasks at hand.

References
Brown, R. (1999) Group Processes. Oxford: Blackwell.
Gouran, D. S. and Hirokawa, R. Y. (2001). The role of communication in decision- making groups: A functional perspective. New York: Praeger.
Hirokawa, R. Y. (2003). Effective decision making and problem solving in groups: A functional perspective. New York: Oxford University Press.
Salazar, A. (2012). Functional Group Communication Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Tuckman, W. and Jensen, A. (1977). Stages of small group development revisited. Group and Organizational Studies, 2 (1), pp.419- 427.